Get a revealing glimpse of the area’s colourful history at the Singapore Chinatown Heritage Centre.

If these walls could talk, what would they tell us? Inspired by the life and times of Singapore’s early Chinese migrants, the Chinatown Heritage Centre is where you can get a revealing glimpse of the area’s colourful history.

Relive the past

Set within three beautifully-restored shophouses along Pagoda Street, the centre has been recreated to closely resemble the living quarters of Chinatown’s residents in the 1950s.

Pictures, stories and historical artefacts help to showcase the lives of these settlers as they struggled to make ends meet during the early years of Singapore as a budding port.

Tales of hardship

These 'sinkheh' (migrants) risked their lives coming to Singapore from their home provinces in China. Starting anew in a strange country and away from their loved ones, brought tremendous hardship.

Many had to endure horrible living conditions in cramped quarters while finding ways to eke out a living. You’ll be able to get an idea of this first-hand as you walk through the centre’s recreated corridors and tight passages.

The centre also gives a rarely-seen look at the dingy side of old Singapore, with its seedy gambling dens and terrible secret societies.

When you’re done exploring, pick up a memento at the souvenir shop, or take a break at the in-house restaurant, which serves local favourites and other dishes.